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Firewire Interfaces and Cards

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Anonymous
September 27, 2004 10:11:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I have been thinking of purchasing a "real" sound card for sometime now
after living with a SoundBlaster Audigy for sometime. So I have two
questions for everyone;

1) It seems that the Firewire and/or USB sound interfaces are getting
to be quite a bit more popular than the internal soundcards due to the
distance that can be put between the interface and the main computer
which limits interference. Is there a downside of getting a mobile
interface such as the M-Audio Firewire Audiophile vs an internal card
such as the m-audio deta 44? The areas that I expect to see a large
improvement in when compared to my audigy are latency (current is like
100+ms), ability to use real time Sonar effects and soft synths (related
to latency), and ability to independently operate at least 2 stereo
outputs from Sonar (this features comes and goes on my audigy).

2) If I do go with a Firewire interface, I should purchase another
Firewire card since the only firewire port on the computer is on my SB
audigy. Are certain Firewire card brands better at running these mobile
interfaces or is the CompUSA special as good as any other?

3) Third question (yeah, I lied), Anyone see any problems if I purchase
a mobile interface and keep the SB audigy installed for games and other
non-pro audio sound support?

Thanks for everyone's ideas,
Andrew V. Romero
Anonymous
September 28, 2004 12:41:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Andrew V. Romero" <rrstudio2@icqmail.com> wrote in message
news:cjado1$a29$1@oasis.ccit.arizona.edu
> I have been thinking of purchasing a "real" sound card for sometime
> now after living with a SoundBlaster Audigy for sometime. So I have
> two questions for everyone;
>
> 1) It seems that the Firewire and/or USB sound interfaces are getting
> to be quite a bit more popular than the internal soundcards due to the
> distance that can be put between the interface and the main computer
> which limits interference. Is there a downside of getting a mobile
> interface such as the M-Audio Firewire Audiophile vs an internal card
> such as the m-audio deta 44?

Typically, Firewire interfaces cost more, all other things being equal, than
PCI-based interfaces.

While Firewire streams bits fast, it is yet another protocol, that can be
thought of as sitting on top of the PCI interface of the Firewire interface
card. When you stack two protocols, the resulting composite is hard put to
be as fast as either one of them by itself. The bottom line is that it's
hard to imagine how a card with a Firewire interface can outperform a card
with a PCI interface.

> The areas that I expect to see a large
> improvement in when compared to my audigy are latency (current is like
> 100+ms), ability to use real time Sonar effects and soft synths
> (related to latency), and ability to independently operate at least 2
> stereo outputs from Sonar (this features comes and goes on my audigy).

The big difference between most audio production-type interfaces and a SB is
that SB cards route data through a complex on-board DSP that resamples all
the data. Production-type cards do far less processing and reprocessing of
the audio signal. They are typically bit-perfect for every relevant
function, which your SB isn't.

Obviously, simpler processing favors cleaner audio and less overhead.
Therefore, its reasaonble to expect less latency from the production-type
card.

> 2) If I do go with a Firewire interface, I should purchase another
> Firewire card since the only firewire port on the computer is on my SB
> audigy. Are certain Firewire card brands better at running these
> mobile interfaces or is the CompUSA special as good as any other?

All Firewire interface chips are not created as equals. I've seen some real
turkeys incorporated into certain motherboards for example. Some of those
same chips or portions of chips might show up in some commodity stand-alone
PCI card.

Comp USA's cheap interface cards are probably no better or worse on the
average than anybody elses, but they may not be the exact same card under
the same catalog number every day you visit their store. The key is make and
model of the actual firewire chip. For the greatest possibility of success,
consult with the vendor of the audio interface - he probably knows more than
he ever wanted to know about the peculiarities of various implementations of
firewire interfaces that are going around.

Branded Firewire interfaces such as Adaptec's are at least a known quantity.
While they may cost twice as much, the actual cash difference may be small
compared to the peace of mind a known stable quantity might provide. Comp
USA sells both kinds of cards last time I looked.

> 3) Third question (yeah, I lied), Anyone see any problems if I
> purchase a mobile interface and keep the SB Audigy installed for
> games and other non-pro audio sound support?

If you and your chosen software can manage a PC with multiple audio
interfaces, don't expect a lot of problems. OTOH, the principle of KISS
(Keep It Simple, Stupid!) has served me well for about 40 years.
Anonymous
September 29, 2004 4:19:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Arny Krueger (arnyk@hotpop.com)
in article <J5mdnQCqRLhLxsTcRVn-oA@comcast.com> wrote:
> For the greatest possibility of success,
> consult with the vendor of the audio interface - he probably knows more than
> he ever wanted to know about the peculiarities of various implementations of
> firewire interfaces that are going around.

This seems like a good example of That:
http://www.rme-audio.com/english/techinfo/fw800alert.ht...
http://www.rme-audio.com/english/techinfo/fw800sp2.htm


-Brian
Related resources
Anonymous
September 29, 2004 4:19:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Brian Takei" <btakei@sbcglobal.net> wrote in message
news:MPG.1bc3bb0d108b8d5f9897df@news.chi.sbcglobal.net
> Arny Krueger (arnyk@hotpop.com)
> in article <J5mdnQCqRLhLxsTcRVn-oA@comcast.com> wrote:
>> For the greatest possibility of success,
>> consult with the vendor of the audio interface - he probably knows
>> more than he ever wanted to know about the peculiarities of various
>> implementations of firewire interfaces that are going around.
>
> This seems like a good example of That:
> http://www.rme-audio.com/english/techinfo/fw800alert.ht...
> http://www.rme-audio.com/english/techinfo/fw800sp2.htm
>

Indeed. What a series of tales of woe!
Anonymous
October 1, 2004 11:39:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:Yv-dnRYnyr8xkcfcRVn-pQ@comcast.com...
>
> Indeed. What a series of tales of woe!


Huh? Didn't look all that daunting to me... typical stuff about
teething pains with immature technologies. It said the current crop of
stuff works fine:

"FireWire 400 (1394a-2000) has always functioned properly. We tested PCI
FireWire cards with chips from VIA, NEC and Texas Instruments. The
communication between computer, Fireface 800 and external FireWire hard
drive didn't show any problem."

The only problems they found were with Firewire *800*, and they
described solutions.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
October 5, 2004 8:21:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>1) It seems that the Firewire and/or USB sound interfaces are getting
>to be quite a bit more popular than the internal soundcards due to the
>distance that can be put between the interface and the main computer
>which limits interference. Is there a downside of getting a mobile
>interface such as the M-Audio Firewire Audiophile vs an internal card
>such as the m-audio deta 44? The areas that I expect to see a large
>improvement in when compared to my audigy are latency (current is like
>100+ms), ability to use real time Sonar effects and soft synths (related
>to latency), and ability to independently operate at least 2 stereo
>outputs from Sonar (this features comes and goes on my audigy).


Noise from an internal pci card isn't a practical problem. Unless
you need the portability, get an internal card. Why add another
interface layer if you don't have to? Not to mention the lower cost
;-)

You'll easily achieve single-figure latency with the Delta cards.
Particularly under Windows XP.

CubaseFAQ www.laurencepayne.co.uk/CubaseFAQ.htm
"Possibly the world's least impressive web site": George Perfect
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